Forum: Companies can do more in meeting the needs of seniors

I read with interest the letter, "Dad had hard time submitting particulars to police" (Feb 1), which raised the issues faced by the older generation who may not be literate or tech-savvy.

There are seniors who face health challenges such as being hard of hearing, having dementia or being generally unwell.

Therefore, family members have to assist them in official matters such as filling forms and submitting information.

Last year, my father's Integrated Shield Plan was cancelled due to a missed payment.

When I called the insurer's hotline to find out how to reinstate his policy, a customer service executive insisted that my father, as the policyholder, had to verify his particulars on the phone.

After explaining a few times that he was unable to do so as he is hard of hearing and has Alzheimer's disease, I asked to speak to a manager so I could resolve the issue more expediently. It took several e-mails and phone calls over a number of weeks for that to be done.

The point I want to make is that first-line operators tend to enforce company procedures rigidly, and in doing so may not listen to a family member who is trying to rectify the matter.

Companies need to be more understanding and empathetic towards the elderly in meeting their needs.

In an ageing society like Singapore, perhaps organisations should spend more resources to train their staff and teams to be more flexible, adaptive and understanding of the needs of the elderly, instead of strictly enforcing set rules and procedures.

Digitalisation should not marginalise or penalise those who cannot be on board due to reasons such as age, health and disability.

Christina Lim Khiau Mui

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